When "Adventureland" was first conceived, it was to be based on Walt's award winning documentaries on Africa and Asia. "Jungle Cruise" was the star attraction until "Swiss Family Treehouse" opened in 1962. The inspiration for the "Jungle Cruise" includes the True-Life Adventure documentary, "The African Lion" and the film, "The African Queen" (the name for the Land was to be "True-Life Adventureland" for the aforementioned documentary).
The task of creating a convincing jungle on a limited budget fell to Bill Evans, who did the landscaping for all of Disneyland and most of Walt Disney World. He imported many actual tropical plants and made "character plants," plants that look exotic but really aren't. One of the most well known tricks was to uproot orange trees and, in effect, replant them upside-down and growing vines on the exposed roots. The turbidity, or water clarity, is controlled in order to hide the guidance system and the platforms etc. that all of the animals are on. The color of the water started off brown before becoming green, then going to blue-green in recent years.
From the park's opening day until 1962, "Jungle Cruise" was a documentary style attraction. The spiel has such wonderfully bad puns. While Skippers do have a script to work from, most of it is ad-libbed.
Starting in 2013, "Jungle Cruise" becomes "Jingle Cruise." The first year, the boathouse was decorated, boats were decorated and renamed, and Skippers used a holiday script. In 2014, the boathouse was not very decorated and the boats aren't either, and the scenes were heavily done. The story was that holiday supplies sent for the Skippers had crash landed in the jungle and they're taking us to go get them. In 2015, giant snowmen and snowflakes were placed on the termite mounds of the African Velt.
The movie, "Swiss Family Robinson" was released in 1960 and the Treehouse opened two years later. Walt had always wanted to have a large treehouse in the park, but most folks at WED were hesitant to have one, believing that the trek back down wouldn't be worth it. Of course, it was; adults outnumbered the kids, three to one. Imagineers dubbed it the Disneyodendron Exiums, meaning "out of the ordinary Disney tree." In 1999, it became "Tarzan's Treehouse," full of interactive displays, modeled after the film released the same year.
When "Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye" opened in 1995, the whole of the Land was given a 1930s look to go with the time period of the ride. To promote the ride before it opened, there was evidently an hour long Disney channel program called "Indiana Jones Adventure" and a "Forty Years of Adventure" for 40 attraction-related trading cards that I totally missed. The program had Karen Allen and John Rhys-Davies reprising their roles. There was a special 41st card featuring the Indy Adventure as a movie poster. For seven years, AT&T sponsored the attraction and handed out decoder cards to translate the Mara writing, each in three styles. I have the snake.
The troop transport vehicle and ride system is unique to the "Temple of the Forbidden Eye," with the exception of one ride in Animal Kingdom. The maximum speed is just over 14 mph, but the motion simulation of the shells makes everything seem much faster and more precarious. The onboard computer system chooses among a number of preprogrammed intensity versions and gives each car a personality of sorts.
There is only one operating corridor in the "Chamber of Destiny." The walls of the room slide so that the "room" Mara chooses is different for each ride. There are two false doorways on each side of the real one (five doorways all together) to create the illusion of three doors always visible. Each visible room has video effects on the door showing the contents of each chamber (Eternal Youth, Hall of Promise, Earthly Riches). Each "room" is chosen randomly and when Mara damns us for looking in his eyes, projections make his bust on the back of the chamber basically disintegrate, going with the theme of the chamber. The whole of the ride is a bit of a trip and I was able to find some more information on a site called ThemeParkTourist.com. The article is really fascinating if you like behind-the-magic stuff.
In the summer of 2008, a show kind of thing took over the Aladdin's Oasis show, called "Secret of the Stone Tiger." The Stone Tiger is the Cave of Wonders with some vines on it. The children in the audience help the hostess, an archeologist named Rachel, solve clues. When the last clue is solved, Indy emerges from the Tiger's mouth and tells a tale while Rachel fits the Golden Idol he gives her onto a staff, who then is overcome by its power. The two fight and she falls into the Stone Tiger's mouth.
After the show, another fight would ensue on the roof of the "Jungle Cruise," then on the "Adventureland Bazaar," and finally "Tarzan's Treehouse," then have a stand off on the bridge over the Adventureland/New Orleans Square path. Unfortunately, due to contract stuff with LucasFilm, there was no Indy meet-and-greet.
The show was a tie-in with the fourth installment of the Indiana Jones films, "Kingdom of the Crystal Skull." Like the film, it received mixed reviews. The entire event, from the show, to the fights on the rooftops, and the five Indy artifacts added to the "Jungle Cruise," was called the "Summer of Hidden Mysteries." The artifacts in the "Jungle Cruise" were CORONADO's Life Perservers, the Ark Crate, Henry's Umbrella, Mola Ram's Headdress, and a carving of the Crystal Skull.
Many of the objects in the "Forbidden Eye" queue area are props from the Indy films.
"Enchanted Tiki Room" opened the year after the original Treehouse did. It features four host macaws with plumage matching their home countries: Jose from Mexico, Pierre from France, Michael from Ireland, and Fritz from Germany. The rest of the cast of 150 characters include other birds, flowers, a fountain, and tiki poles and drummers. Polynesian gods are represented in the waiting area, each with a rhyming legend told with Audio-Animatronic Technology.
And now, I shall go find the Indy program and show on MickeyMousePark.com (Indiana Jones And The Secrets Of The Stone Tiger